The way is through the dark. A twilight the color of the world that remains, a domain full of destruction, decay, poverty, hunger. The sadness of those who suffer, disadvantaged protagonists, misfits, unprotected. Helpless people, like us or the result of the exercise of power in an era where values are extinguished. Men, women, children, the elderly, the human condition and its nature in search of atonement, redemption, salvation. Man always, before and after the end and the beginning. Waiting for you and for the other.
The path is made in this wounded twilight, which here, more than in Serralves —where “Companhia”, in 2018, took the first step in this collaboration between Pedro Costa, Rui Chafes and Paulo Nozolino—, shows the public how the work of three artists can be articulated and put into dialogue. Not in the form of influence, but in the form of coherence and the ability to say what is left after the economy distinguishes weak and strong, rich and poor, or, simply, life decides who wins and who loses on the board of opportunities. . Between the scream and the silence, the noise and this deaf silence of mouths, thoughts, desires, ambitions and desires.
With an inauguration scheduled for this Tuesday, June 7, and opening to the public the following day, the exhibition “Pedro Costa, Rui Chafes, Paulo Nozolino – Le reste est ombre” (verse by Fernando Pessoa), begins with Ventura, a character/actor from Pedro Costa, hidden by his own hands, begins with the man who does not want to see or hear what ails him, what hurts him, what tramples him. The call is to pay attention to what hurts, an inner pain, not physical, that extends to the starvation death of a child in Sarajevo, captured by Paulo Nozolino’s camera in 1997, two years after the end of the Bosnian War, or symbolized in the stain of the torn “Veil” of Rui Chafes, as an open wound on the ground. Changing associations between the works of the three artists that are distributed over 400 square meters, in Room 4 of the Center Georges Pompidou until August 22. There are six rooms at a crossroads of corridors that dictate with rare impact the nobility of a reality that the world is less and less able to hide.
“It is an almost urban space. They are asymmetrical, diagonal streets and houses, like in Fontainhas. Houses where you enter and exit, sometimes on the right, sometimes on the left, without knowing very well which street to take. You can see it all or miss something.” The idea is developed by Rui Chafes, who shows his sculptures both in passageways and in more delimited rooms, without, however, resembling museum spaces. There, the works of the artists absorb aspects of each one, in a crescendo of different languages that sometimes touch reality more clearly, sometimes represent it in an allegorical, pictorial, imaginary way.
“We are moving more and more towards a less humanistic society”, says Paulo Nozolino, pointing his finger at greed, usury, power, its decline, the systematic error that history does not erase. “When it comes to filming and photographing reality, Paulo and I cannot camouflage anything,” says Pedro Costa, who acknowledges that, as a filmmaker, he prefers to be able to act as a photographer, writer, anthropologist, sociologist or even a reporter. .
The ongoing “research” has reality as its starting point, advancing towards the analysis of a particular situation that is always assumed to be universal. “Cinema is the tool I have to see the world and its temperatures. I chose a side a long time ago, this side,” Costa continues. This openly political choice points to a path that puts the human condition and its real situation first. “What interests me is the decline of civilization in these last hundred years of history. From the First World War to today, the conflicts we have been through always show this physical and moral decay. It is the raw material of my work”, says Paulo Nozolino. “It’s that darker side of being human, that side that he always comes back to, like it’s the essence of him,” he continues.
Within these closed walls of a scenography signed by Isabelle Raymondo is the life that is scrutinized, the one that could have been anything, but in the end it was not, there is the self and its ghost, the alter ego and the executioner. , the violence of destruction in the suburbs of Lisbon, as in other parts of the world, as reflected in the sequences of Pedro Costa’s works, “Cavalo Dinheiro” (2014) and “No Quarto da Vanda” (2000). There is the sacred, the profane, religion, faith or disbelief, good and evil, whose symbols are so well captured in Paulo Nozolino’s photographs. But there is also what is added to the new sculptures by Rui Chafes, made expressly for this exhibition, and which translate into more “phantasmatic” representations far from what constitutes “the surface of the world”, but which concern him. They are dense, heavy, natural imbalances that appear as tortured forms, bodies that do not point to the sky, but fall to the ground, in a volume charged with tension.
And if the air escapes while the works are distributed through the alleys of this collective metropolis and give an account of a society divided into two different universes, naked, black and white, raw, with no alternative, it is an atmosphere of encouragement that we speak to each other of when we entered the largest of the exhibition halls. It is there that “As Filhas do Fogo”, by Pedro Costa, meets for the second time, being the first time in Serralves, with “As Tuas Mãos”, by Rui Chafes. Five screens with five women’s faces unfold our gaze through seven floating sculptures. The air passes, enters and leaves and you take a breath to return to the concentration that the rest of the show demands.
“The rest is shadow”, as the subtitle of the exhibition translates, and Pessoa’s verse tells nothing but the truth, taking advantage of the opportunity of the place to declare to the greatest possible number of people that what matters is there, that while if the world sins due to lack of solutions, lack of resources and lack of equality, it will not be worth illuminating what already has light. Leave yourself in the shade. Do not care. It is just a remainder.